30 Nov

11 Trendy Vintage Styles Done Ethically

Almost every style is timeless. That might be a bold statement to make, but most of the time, it isn’t what you’re wearing, but how you wear it. Every year, looks we thought we had done away with make a comeback, giving designers new ways of incorporating them back into the mainstream—and 2020 was no exception!

Although the Covid pandemic made it impossible to show off looks in person, it didn’t stop vintage fashion from thriving. Vintage influencers are more popular than ever, vintage shopping is being embraced for its sustainability, comfort and individuality, and the popularity of era-based content like “The Queen’s Gambit” have caused even the most secular shopper to embrace the pre-2000s fare. But even if true vintage shopping is sustainable, there are many fast fashion brands who are cashing in on these popular trends, making it hard to distinguish the real from the fake. Luckily, we’ve put together a list of 2020’s most popular vintage styles, the tried-and-true vintage shops where you can find them, and the ‘Good’ and ‘Great’ rated sustainable brands for when you want something a bit more vintage “inspired”.

High waisted jeans

It goes without saying that high-rise denim is a classic! Becoming common in 70s fashion, this style has been a staple for its comfortability, versatility, and ability to work with a variety of body types. No wardrobe is complete without a pair of these old faithfuls, and if you want a pair as classic as the look itself, Levi’s Second Hand is your go-to site. Not only does it allow you to buy vintage Levi’s, and rock the “original jean,” but you’re also able to sell any Levi’s you’ve been meaning to discard. Levi’s themselves might only have an ‘It’s A Start’ rating, but they have dedicated themselves to reducing the fabric waste of their product. However, if a fresh pair of jeans is what you’re looking for, Nudie Jeans is a slow denim brand you can trust, with all of your favourite cuts like this classic high waisted pair made from organic cotton.

Nudie Jeans

Rated: Good

Breezy Britt Friendly Blue – Ships to Australia, Canada, the US, and Europe from Sweden

Fit-n-flare

We have Beth Harmon and Midge Maisel to thank for bringing 50s and 60s fashion back into the mainstream, and at the forefront of this is the fit-n-flare. Whether it’s an a-line dress that accentuates the figure, or the swing skirt that bounces as you do, this vintage style is the perfect night-to-day look, and never goes out of fashion. If you’re in search of these treasures in the real world, Butch Wax Vintage, Crush Vintage and Cheshire Vintage have authentic pieces that’ll take you back to that timeless glamour. If you’d like to start some glamour of your own, Mara Hoffman has the refined lines to help you pull off the look, but some interesting cuts to keep you contemporary. This gorgeous red TENCEL skirt hits the spot!

70s flared pants

We all love a good tapered leg, but an appreciation for flare is making a comeback! Formerly reserved for discos, platform heels and low-rise denim is now being embraced for its combination of elegance and comfort. These days, you can see these beautiful pants paired with everything from a sweatshirt to a tailored top, solidifying them as a classic cut. You can really tap into the true 70s vibe by shopping on Miracle Eye, a brand dedicated to both vintage and homemade era-based styles. You could also take a more modern approach and browse the selections at Les Récupérables, a French upcycling brand that utilizes some of the most beautiful fabrics you’ve ever s een. We’ll admit to being a little bit in love with these upcycled cotton retro pants, available in a range of classic colours.

Les Récupérables

Rated: Good

Kool Pants – Ships internationally from France

Nonbinary fashion

The early 20th century didn’t just give women the right to vote. It also gave women the right to wear trousers, suspenders, dressing blouses, and all manner of chic functionality that, until then, had been reserved only for men. This similar way of dress resulted in some of the most beautiful nonbinary outfits (Marlene Dietrich, anyone?) that began to disappear post WWII, only to echo back in the form of 80s androgyny. Fortunately, gender-nonconforming Millennials and Gen-Zs might have brought it back permanently, proving that style has no gender. Shopping on sites like Untitled 1991 can definitely help you engage in the more true vintage side of this look, with Stella McCartney holding you down on the more contemporary side. The recent unisex capsule collection is a youthful, genderless exploration of a collective linked by utilitarian styles and activist values.

The mesh top

What was once seen as an unforgiving material reserved for 90s supermodels and grunge enthusiasts, is now having a well-deserved renaissance. The mesh top has become a staple of effortless sex appeal. Not only is it a breathable fabric that provides a perfect sheer layer, but it can also be paired with a variety of prints and colours, giving it that contemporary edge that works with a swing skirt or a fresh pair of jeans. You can find some amazing mesh tops on the Depop app, spanning from the 90s on. If you’d rather have a newer fit, look no further than La Fille d’O, who has an entire collection of mesh tops, in multiple cuts. Yes, it’s a lingerie brand, but as we said—effortless sex appeal.

la fille d’O

Rated: Good

Wonderwall – Ships internationally from Belgium

Colour tinted eyewear

This is one of the most recent comebacks, but also one of the most welcomed. Though you’d typically see vintage photos of them on disco queens, nouveau hippies, and of course, Elton John, this 70s trend has turned from a novelty item to a creative way of adding a pop of colour to any outfit. Right now, Wearing Me Out Vintage has a pretty sizable collection of tinted eyewear, ranging from brighter colours like bubblegum pink to more subdued brown and indigo. They’re offering a variety of styles and decades, so if you’re up for a little vintage diving, you’re sure to find your perfect pair. You can also get some new tinted eyewear, from Stella McCartney on Farfetch, where the styles are sleeker and the colours are more sophisticated.

Wires

Rated: Good

180 Sunglasses – Ships internationally from the UK

Wires is a London based eyewear brand that creates beautiful styles from a single piece of metal wire and 3D printed parts.

See the rating.

Shop Wires.

Tie neckline

Though this is probably one of the boldest vintage styles of the bunch, it’s also the one that has managed to stay in fashion, with designers revamping it for new generations since the 1920s. Whether high around the base of the neck, à la the 1980s, or low in a 1930s v-shape, the tie neckline is a sophisticated style that harkens back to the chicest of times. A fantastic place to buy tie necklines right now is Blackbird Antiques, where there are blouses ranging from the 1950s to the 1980s. For a more modern approach, One Vintage has radiant bespoke blouses made from antique textiles. It’s the perfect place to go if you want something truly original.

One Vintage

Rated: Good

Celeste Pussy Bow Blouse – Ships internationally from the UK

Mules

With all the Crocs and loafers walking the pavement these days, it’s safe to say that slip-on shoes are having a renaissance of their own. Up there with them are the ever-sophisticated mules. What started out as nothing but indoor slippers for 18th century men and women, evolved in time to become a staple shoe for anyone who loves a good slip-on. From feather maribous to platform clogs, the variety that mules offer makes them the perfect style for any outfit. You can find some gorgeous vintage mules at Poppycock Vintage, or you can head to Beyond Skin, the vegan leather shoe brand that is currently sporting decorative, vintage-inspired mules. Bonus points if you’re a bow lover!

Beyond Skin

Rated: Good

Hoop earrings

Have hoops ever really gone out of style? It’s hard to say. These earrings, which were once stigmatized in the early 20th century as being an indicator of Native American, African, and Latin immigration, were embraced in the 1920s (with special thanks to Josephine Baker) and have never really left the circuit since. If high-rise denim is a bottom must-have, then hoop earrings are the jewellery equivalent, adding a touch of metropolitan elegance to your ‘fits. The consignment and pre-owned online boutique, The RealReal, offers a wide selection of earrings for any hoop lover. The ethical jewellery brand, ARTICLE22, is also the place to go if you’re looking for a more streamlined approach to hoops, like with these jumbo upcycled silver hoops.

ARTICLE22

Rated: Good

Virtuous Circle Jumbo Hoops – Ships internationally from the US

Offers

Person wearing white top and gold ethically made jewellery by ARTICLE22.

ARTICLE22 – USA and Canada

The more ARTICLE22 jewellery you wear, the more land you make safe and clear from bombs in Laos. Exclusive 10% off new gold anodised pieces with code GOODONYOU10. (Ends: 24 NOV)

Checkout code: GOODONYOU10
Shop now
Person wearing white top and gold ethically made jewellery by ARTICLE22.

ARTICLE22 – Australia and New Zealand

Gold anodised jewellery that supports traditional Laotian artisan livelihoods, village development, community endeavours, and de-mining efforts. Exclusive 20% off new gold anodised pieces with code GOODONYOU20. (Ends: 24 NOV)

Checkout code: GOODONYOU20
Shop now
Person wearing white top and gold ethically made jewellery by ARTICLE22.

ARTICLE22 – Europe and the UK

Ethically crafted gold anodised pieces that are durable, corrosion-resistant, and and will remain sparkling for a long time. Exclusive 10% off new gold anodised pieces with code GOODONYOU10. (Ends: 24 NOV)

Checkout code: GOODONYOU10
Shop now

Track pants

The days of the velour sweatsuits might still be a trend of the past (for now), but fashion sportswear has definitely been plucked from the 80s and 90s. The most popular right now being track pants. Style with everything from sneakers to high heels, track pants have been taken out of gyms and homes, and made into streetwear couture. It’s a vintage style that’s steadily being embraced for its relaxed approach to fashion. The online vintage boutique, Ragstock, has a pretty impressive collection of track pants and streetwear bottoms, if you’re looking to shop pre-owned. But if you’re looking for some new ‘fits, Frankie provides the goods with reworked vintage track pants, bodysuits, and sets.

Frankie

Rated: Great

Vintage Rework Reebok Sweatpants – Ships internationally from Canada

Vintage Purse

Nicole is inspired by vintage purses with a Mashu twist! Its custom made frame was created with Mashu’s signature hardware made from brass. Comes with a Detachable chain that you can either wear cross body or as a clutch.

Mashu

Rated: Good
vintage blue purse by mashu

Nicole Royal Blue – Ships internationally from the UK

Author bio: Delilah Smith is freelance journalist, storyteller, and sustainable fashion advocate from Oakland, CA. After changing her career path from editorial to film, she balances her position at Pixar Animation Studios with her Good On You contributions, returning back to editorial to spread awareness on the environmental effects of fast fashion, and give readers more eco-conscious choices. When not writing, you can find her on an aerial silk, which everyone should try at least once! You can find her on Instagram @delilah.the.dahlia

Editor's note

Feature image via Mara Hoffman, all other images via brands mentioned. Good On You publishes the world’s most comprehensive ratings of fashion brands’ impact on people, the planet and animals. Use our Directory to search more than 3,000 brands. We may earn a commission on sales made using our offer codes or affiliate links.

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